MG2, an architecture firm involved in retail, hospitality, food and beverage, industrial, office and mixed-use projects, has acquired The Lion’esque Group.Mitch Smith, chairman and chief executive officer of MG2, said from his initial conversations with The Lion’esque Group, “The alignment with our values, goals and what we are most passionate about was clear, as well as our mutual focus on creating memorable and transformative experiences for our clients’ customers. At the same time, I have tremendous respect for the unique perspective and expertise TLG brings to MG2 and our clients.”MG2, with offices in Seattle; Irvine, Calif.; Minneapolis; Washington, D.C., and Shanghai, has done projects for Costco, DSW, Uniqlo, Starbucks, Anthropologie, Fred Meyer, Target and more clients around the world.“Technically, this is an acquisition, but the spirit in essence is of a partnership,” said Melissa Gonzalez, chief executive officer of The Lion’esque Group, which creates pop-ups and lists itself as experiential retail strategists. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.Gonzalez continues as ceo of TLG. “We function the same way as before with additional support and bandwidth and expertise,” thanks to the merger. Gonzalez will report to MG2’s chief creative officer, MJ Munsell, and has become a principal and shareholder at MG2.“Our merger comes at a time when all established retail brands are needing to evolve — reconsidering everything from their footprint and real estate strategy to their value proposition in brick-and-mortar, to how to differentiate and leverage their physical experience from their digital experience,” said Gonzalez. “And for most of our direct-to-consumer clients, pop-up shops serve the purpose of prototyping, A/B testing (a way to compare the performance of two versions of a web page or app) and as studies for the viability of longer-term tenancies.”Among its projects, the 10-year-old New York-based Lion’esque created the Nordstrom Local space opened last year on Third Avenue and 73rd Street in Manhattan. TLG also created four pop-ups and one permanent location for Purple, the mattress company.TLG’s first project was a 2009 pop-up in Midtown for New Form Perspective knitwear. The firm has also worked with Puma and The RealReal, and created the launch experience for the Walmart-Scoop collaboration last year.
Rhoxanne Villaseñor is keeping her family's "rh" theme alive.
Like her brother, Rhuigi of Rhude Villaseñor has a background in design. She launched The Rhod, a jewelry brand named after her father, several years ago, around the same time that her brother launched his cult-favorite streetwear brand. The Rhod, Villaseñor said, was mainly costume jewelry made of brass with gold plating. She has since elevated to fine jewelry, working strictly with gold and diamonds for Rhox, her newest jewelry venture. "As I’m getting older, it was important for me to be true to myself," said Villaseñor. "The way we marketed and branded Rhox, it’s more studio-artistic. I’m using fruits to reflect body parts and shapes because I want people to visualize themselves without comparing [themselves to] another person. The images are vibrant, bright, and it’s a reflection of me and my spirit. I want to bring joy to people — I do it for a living." 🍋
Victoria’s Secret has been sold – and Les Wexner is stepping aside.
Parent company L Brands sold 55 percent of the intimates giant to Sycamore Partners for $525 million. The deal includes the Pink brand. Victoria’s Secret will become a private company, while L Brands’ remaining operation, Bath & Body Works, will become a standalone public firm.
Following the transaction, Wexner – who has come under fire over the last 18 months for Victoria’s Secret failure to adapt to changing market conditions, his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein and alleged sexual harassment at the company, will transition from chairman and chief executive officer to chairman emeritus of the company he founded.
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